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The University

"Dr. Wells exhibits much more energy and enthusiasm than many of his more fuzzy-cheeked associates in the faculty of North Carolina State College."

C. F. Raper
"With Wells Along the Waccamaw"
Pinetum: Journal of School of Forestry

B. W. Wells with Joseph McMenamin, a graduate student in plant ecology, along with fellow Botany Department students and staff.
ca. 1940

"The one point that always stands out is that he taught the students to think, to observe nature, and to draw conclusions rather than rote memory."
Stephen G. Boyce, Research Forester
Letter to Harlan Brown nominating Wells for an honorary degree
November 20, 1962

B. W. Wells in the 1923 Agromeck

Upon arriving in 1919, Wells, along with two researchers, made up the entire faculty of the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology (known today as the Department of Plant Biology) at North Carolina State College. He worked tirelessly to expand the offerings of the department, adding courses, well qualified staff, and equipment. In 1923, Wells taught or co-taught nine of 14 botany courses offered, including a separate course on ecology that he introduced in 1920 and would teach until 1954.

Department of Botany

Wells actively sought to improve the academic quality of the department. In the publication Laboratory Directions for General Botany, North Carolina State College of Agriculture and Engineering written with two departmental colleagues in 1922, he outlines procedures for the general botany courses. He methodically instructs students to observe plants and sketch their features, and to ask questions about what they have seen. Wells sought to empower his students to learn by exploring and working through problems on their own. In his article A Method of Teaching the Evolution of the Land Plants written in 1921, he presents an approach to teaching in which he recommends that the life cycles of plants be drawn in concentric circles by students, for to have the teacher create a diagram for the entire class would be "an unfortunate pedagogical mistake."

Dr. Z. P. Metcalf and B. W. Wells as pictured in the 1923 Agromeck

"Within the College he and Dr. Z. P. Metcalf were often far ahead of other members of the faculty in support of courses and curricula for their role in developing basic knowledge."
C. H. Bostian, Professor of Genetics
Letter to Harlan Brown nominating Wells for an honorary degree
October 25, 1962

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